Edge Ellison partner profits under review

Edge Ellison is undergoing a costs review that could lead to job losses, The Lawyer can reveal.

The Lawyer understands that the equity partners at Edge Ellison are close to completing a profitability review covering fee-earning and non-fee-earning elements within the firm.

It is understood that Edge Ellison’s lock-in agreement for partners will end at the beginning of next year and the firm is attempting to boost profits to avoid any potential departures of senior fee-earners.

In September last year the senior partners of Birmingham’s top law firms, including Retallack, met to discuss how to tackle the “serious salary inflation” problem faced by firms in the Midlands.

Edge Ellison’s profits per partner currently stand at £150,000, which still falls short of its principal Birmingham rivals Eversheds (£211,000), Pinsent Curtis (£250,000) and Wragge & Co (£263,000).

Rumours of a raft of pending redundancies were vehemently denied by senior partner James Retallack who instituted a radical management restructure, The Way Forward, in 1998 after merger talks between the firm and Pinsent Curtis collapsed.

Since then Edge Ellison has enjoyed a period of relative stability which, says Retallack, has resulted in a record month in terms of chargeable time.

“All businesses everyday undergo costs reviews,” Retallack says.

This year the firm also made its first formalised foray into the global market by signing up to the International Lawyers Network (The Lawyer, 21 February).

Edge Ellison was the second UK firm, after Memery Crystal, to join the 70-strong network.